World slingers to share stories at meetings of Writers’ Forum

Melissa Hopkins

January 17, 2014

LAURINBURG — Novelists, poets, journalists, musicians and actors will be included among the guest writers during the spring semester Writers’ Forum at St. Andrews University.

Free and open to the public, the Forum takes place Thursdays at 8 p.m. in the Ronald H. Bayes Writers’ Forum Lounge.

Young adult novelist Terra Elan McVoy will start the semester off on Jan. 23 with a reading. A 1996 St. Andrews graduate, McVoy went on to the Creative Writing MA program at Florida State University. She has published five novels: “Pure,” “After the Kiss,” “The Summer of Firsts and Lasts,” “Being Friends with Boys,” and “Criminal.” She currently serves as the Program Director of the Decatur Book Festival and occasionally teaches creative writing classes to young people at Little Shop of Stories.

Continuing the tradition of allowing community writers to share their own work, the first open mic of the semester will take place on Jan. 30. Individuals interested in sharing their work are invited to sign up the night of the reading with student host Darian Cahill. Readings are limited to between five and seven minutes to allow for all readers to have an opportunity to share.

Additional open mics will be held on Feb. 13, March 20 and April 3.

Author and poet Sherry Rentschler will read on Feb. 6. Her first poem was published at the age of five and her first newspaper article was published at age 13. She has been writing ever since. She has been published in a variety of literary magazines as she worked as a staff columnist and assistant poetry editor for the online magazine, Amateur Poetry Journal. She has also worked as a staff writer and photojournalist. Her first collection of poetry, “Paper Bones,” was published in July 2013. She is currently writing a historical murder mystery and a vampire series.

The Ethel N. Fortner Writer and Community Award and the Sam Ragan Fine Arts Award will be presented on Feb. 20 in place of the Writers’ Forum. Our State Magazine editor-in-chief Elizabeth Hudson will receive the Fortner Award while Grammy-winning country, blues and old-time music trio Carolina Chocolate Drops lead-singer Rhiannon Giddens will be presented the Ragan Award. The award presentation is an invitation-only event.

Poet, novelist, actor and educator Tom Smith will be featured on March 27. Recently retired from Castleton State College, Smith has been publishing poems since 1959 in such magazines as Virginia Quarterly Review, Chicago Review, American Scholar, Beyond Baroque, Beloit Poetry Journal, Iowa Review and New York Quarterly. He has published one novel, “A Well-Behaved Little Boy” and nine volumes of poems, including “Some Traffic,” “Singing the Middle Ages,” “Spending the Light,” and “Jack’s Beans: A Five Year Diary.” His long story, “The Christmas Shopper” won the 2009 A.E. Coppard Prize for Fiction and was published by White Eagle Coffee Store Press. He has appeared in many roles in summer stock at Killington, Vermont and in community and college theatre in Rutland and Castleton.

The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets Series Central Region reading will take place on April 24. The special reading featuring Distinguished Poet Lynn Veach Sadler and student poets Carol W. Whitehead, Rosalyn Marhatta, M. Danielle Wilson and Tara Algieri will take place on the second floor of DeTamble Library.

Sadler is in her first year as the Distinguished Poet in the central region. A former college president, she has published widely in both academic and creative writing publications. Her work has earned such honors as the Pittsburgh Quarterly Hay Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Hemley Award, Asphodel’s Poetry Contest and Kalliope’s Elkind Contest. She has published several chapbooks and had one story included in Del Sol’s Best of 2004 Butler Prize Anthology.

Sadler was named the 2007 Writer of the Year by California’s elizaPress. She won the 2009 overall award of the San Diego City College National Writer’s Contest and City Works Journal.

For information about the Writers’ Forum, creative writing at St. Andrews or the St. Andrews Press, call 910-277-5310 or email

Melissa Hopkins is director of Communications at St. Andrews University.